Two Rx-to-OTC allergy switches approved by FDA

In a clear sign of a more favourable attitude to Rx-to-OTC switch, the US FDA last week approved two new allergy products for non-prescription use.

Lastacaft alcaftadine ophthalmic 0.25% solution (Allergan / AbbVie) is now available without a prescription online and in retail stores for individuals aged 2+ years with ocular allergies. As demonstrated in clinical studies, one drop works in as little as three minutes to provide relief from itchy eyes for up to 16 hours. Following the recent FDA Rx-to-OTC switch approval, the original patented prescription-strength formulation of Lastacaft is available in a 5ml multidose bottle containing a 60-day supply, as well as a twin pack with two 5ml multidose bottles.

Perrigo also received final approval last week from the FDA for the OTC use of Nasonex 24HR Allergy (mometasone furoate monohydrate 50mcg). This marks the first branded Rx-to-OTC switch for the company, which expects to begin offering the nasal spray later this year. Nasonex is a registered trademark of Organon and is used by Perrigo and its affiliates under licence.

Nicholas Hall’s Touchpoints: This development will no doubt lead to an increase in switch activity after House and Senate committee members cited concerns that “very few products in recent years have switched from prescription drugs to nonprescription drugs” and pointed out that the FDA is expected to “meet the goals of the Fall 2021 Unified Agenda and publish and subsequently finalise the proposed rule titled Nonprescription Drug Product with an Additional Condition for Nonprescription Use.”

The appropriations committees are also: “Concerned about dietary supplement products that are adulterated or misbranded, in particular with imported products. The agreement provides an increase of US$2mn in the FDA’s budget [US$6.1bn in total] to be used for inspections, as well as enforcement of the Dietary Supplement Health & Education Act of 1994”. My sense is that in the biggest market for both switch and dietary supplements, we could see a correction in the prevailing trend from treatment to prevention.

Take a look at the latest CHC innovations in our forthcoming 2022 edition of Innovation in CHC from CHC New Products Tracker. This report offers a look at Rx-to-OTC switch activity, as well as innovation by region, marketer and 20 individual countries. To pre-order your copy and save up to £1,350 with the pre-publication discount, or for further information on this report, please contact melissa.lee@NicholasHall.com.

Unilever still seeking expansion in CHC

Pressure has been building on Unilever over the weekend, with Nelson Peltz’s activist hedge fund Trian Partners reportedly taking a position in the UK group’s shares, adding to the challenges facing CEO Alan Jope. The Unilever boss is already facing brewing shareholder discontent after its attempted takeover of GSK Consumer Health, and now confronts a fierce activist fund known for demanding streamlining and governance reforms at consumer goods groups including P&G, Sysco and Mondelez.

Following a third unsolicited bid for GSK’s Consumer Healthcare business last week, Unilever brought forward an update setting out its strategic direction. An extensive review by the Board to reposition Unilever’s portfolio into higher-growth categories concluded that the FMCG player’s future strategic direction lies in “materially expanding its presence in health, beauty and hygiene”. The company added that consumer health was a “highly complementary category, with good potential for synergies and a number of routes to build scale”.

As our CHC New Products Tracker tool indicates, the priority brand for Unilever over the past two years has been supplement Olly, which has been expanded beyond its initial US launch market into the key growth market of China. Unilever has also invested in NPD for fellow supplements SmartyPants and Liquid I.V., since acquiring both brands in 2020, as well as Derma brands Vaseline and Lifebuoy, and there is clear scope for Unilever to expand its CHC portfolio further both geographically and in terms of category focus.

Nicholas Hall’s Touchpoints: Unilever’s latest offer for GSK CH, received in December 2021, was for a total value of £50bn (US$68bn), which the GSK Board unanimously concluded “fundamentally undervalued the business and its future prospects”. Following the publication of Unilever’s strategy update, it initially looked like the company would make a sweetened offer. It stated: “GSK CH would be a strong strategic fit; 45% is in oral care and VMS — categories in which Unilever already has presence and substantial capabilities. OTC would be an attractive adjacent category, with the ability to combine Unilever’s consumer and branding expertise with GSK CH’s technical OTC capabilities.”

However, Unilever faced a growing backlash from investors, with its shares falling and ratings agency Fitch warning it could downgrade the company’s “A” credit rating if it proceeded with the deal, which would likely raise debt. A few days later, the company announced: “We note the recently-shared financial assumptions from the current owners of GSK CH and have determined that it does not change our view on fundamental value. Accordingly, we will not increase our offer above £50bn (US$68bn).

Unilever has laid its cards on the table though and will no doubt be on the lookout for another CHC target. Meanwhile, GSK maintains that the “focus remains on executing the proposed demerger, which is on track to be achieved in mid-2022”, although analysts note that the MNC may consider a deal worth around £60bn (US$82bn). It remains to be seen whether other suitors, potentially thought to include Nestlé and private equity, will make a move.

Innovation trends by region will be analysed in the latest edition of Innovation in CHC from CHC New Products Tracker. This report will also take a look at delivery format trends, offer the Top 100 innovations from 2021, as well as innovation by leading marketers. To pre-order your copy and save with the pre-publication discount, or for further information, please contact melissa.lee@NicholasHall.com.

Global dementia cases set to triple

The number of people aged 40+ years with dementia could nearly triple worldwide from 57mn in 2019 to 153mn by 2050. This is according to a study of 195 countries funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, published in The Lancet Public Health on 6th January 2022. The projected increase is largely owing to the ageing population and population growth.

However, the study also looks at four risk factors – smoking, obesity, high blood sugar and low education – and highlights their impact on future trends. While improvements in global education access are projected to reduce dementia prevalence by 6.2mn cases by 2050, this will be offset by anticipated trends in obesity, high blood sugar and smoking, which are expected to result in an additional 6.8mn cases.

Nicholas Hall’s Touchpoints: This study was conducted by the University of Washington, and to quote the lead author, Emma Nichols: “We need to focus more on prevention and control of risk factors before they result in dementia. Even modest advances in preventing dementia or delaying its progression would pay remarkable dividends. To have the greatest impact, we need to reduce exposure to the leading risk factors. For most, this means scaling up locally-appropriate, low-cost programmes that support healthier diets, more exercise, quitting smoking and better access to education.”

Is there a role for consumer healthcare here? I believe there is! Not least, it is noticeable that herbal products sold for memory & brain health have been growing consistently during the past five years, with a spike in demand in 2020. Taking all channels of distribution into account, this category is valued at over a billion dollars, with the USA accounting for about 50% of sales. In Prevagen, it has produced a mega-brand, which is why both Reckitt and P&G have entered the fray. At a time of continuing interest in M&A, it’s encouraging to see that there are a number of CHC categories delivering substantial organic growth.

Herbal memory and brain health supplements will be reviewed in our forthcoming report, Herbals & Naturals, which will track the leading H&N marketers, highlight developments, sales and success strategies. To pre-order your copy and save up to GB£2,100, or for further information, please contact melissa.lee@NicholasHall.com.

Immunity: DSM and Sprim reports highlight evolving consumer needs

According to The Immunity Report, recently published by DSM, some 40% of consumers now buy supplements online. This offers convenience, choice and the chance for shoppers to conduct their own research. The digital space also provides more opportunities for tailored products and services vs the broad support offered in-store. Some 76% of global consumers who find nutrition-genetic testing appealing would do it to improve immunity.

In the digital space, supplements can also be more easily tailored to consumers’ lives and habits via online subscription services, which would interest 62% of nutritional supplement users. These can be based on factors such as demographic, lifestyle or season. As well as tailored convenience for the consumer through immunity products suited to them, subscription services can help brands to keep connected with consumers beyond delivery and learn more about their needs over time. One of the interesting findings in the report was how “pill fatigue” among consumers has led to a surge in demand for other delivery formats like gummies, drink shots and stick packs.

Separately, a recent survey conducted by Sprim involving 1,000+ participants across USA, Mexico and Brazil found that, with the pandemic driving interest in immunity, there has been a profound rise in demand for supplements. However, in a saturated market, consumers are becoming more discerning with their purchasing power.

The Sprim report presented five key takeaways, providing a foundation for companies in the immune support category seeking to serve the needs of this evolving consumer:

  • 61% began or increased their purchasing of dietary supplements for immune support in the wake of Covid-19
  • Scientific / clinical trial evidence was the most important consideration when choosing an immune support supplement
  • Vitamins C & D are the most popular ingredients for immune health
  • While most consumers in Mexico & Brazil purchase their supplements from drugstores, those in USA primarily buy theirs from online mass market stores
  • Feeling “tired & rundown” is the #1 buying trigger for immune supplements across all regions

Now is your last chance to save up to 50% off several Reports titles as part of our special end-of-year Reports saleending on 31 December! To find out more, or to create your custom discounted reports package, please contact melissa.lee@NicholasHall.com.

Global CHC market +2.6% in MAT Q3 2021

The latest update from Nicholas Hall’s CHC database, DB6, shows that in MAT Q3 2021, the store retail CHC market advanced by 2.6%, a continued improvement over results seen throughout the year (vs -0.6% and +1.7% for MAT Q1 and Q2 respectively).

  • Vitamins, Minerals & Supplements (+6.1%) maintains its position as the fastest-growing category, albeit at a slightly slower rate. Stabilising immune-associated segments still contribute to a healthy topline performance as consumers continue to bolster natural defences; this, coupled with improvements in other subcategories (notably a return to growth for probiotics) has helped to keep the largest major category buoyant
  • Lifestyle CHC growth advanced to +5.9%, with eye care — the largest subcategory — returning a mid-single digit increase (+5.4%); this, alongside sustained double-digit increases in sedatives & sleep aids (+13.8%), as well as smaller categories such as emergency hormonal contraception and erectile dysfunction, boosted the topline
  • Gastrointestinals growth improved (+5.2%) with all subcategories once again seeing an upturn over the previous reporting period — a return to some “normalisation of life” (travel, dining out, etc.) has helped the wider category advance
  • Analgesics saw a further improvement overall (+3.6%) boosted by systemics returning to growth (+1.9%) after successive negative results, as well as consistent gains in topical formats (+7.2%)
  • Dermatologicals slowed further to +0.6% (vs +3.9% MAT Q2 21), a trend heavily impacted by the performance of antiseptics & disinfectants — the subcategory now declining by 9.8% following high growth levels seen in the peak of the pandemic
  • Cough, Cold & Allergy remains negative, with sales retracting by 5.3% in the 12 months to end-Sept 21. However, the macro trend continues to improve over the previous reporting periods (-14.5% and -9.7% for MAT Q1 and Q2 respectively) as incidence of typical seasonal pathologies rises vs a low comparator in 2020, with many players reporting improvements in quarterly terms

In terms of geographies:

  • Americas advanced by 2.4% (vs +1.3% MAT Q2 21) – N America now displaying a positive trend with continued improvements in USA & Canada. LatAm markets remain strong, with another double-digit result in Brazil (+12.1%), the most robust of the Top 20 markets
  • Asia held on to mid-level growth (+4.8%) in the reporting period; while the region continues to be impacted by loss of revenue from overseas visitors in key markets Japan (-2.1%) and Australia (-2.9%), steady single-digit increases in China and India helped to maintain the topline
  • Europe’s performance has flattened; Western European markets are improving (-2.0% vs -4.4% MAT Q2 21), impacted by the analgesics growth trend returning to positive, plus a softening decline for CCA over the previous reporting period. CEE markets advanced further, aided by mid-single-digit gains in Poland (+4.8%)

Nicholas Hall commented: Good news! My colleague Kayleigh Griffin-Hooper tells me that the latest DB6 data show that the store retail CHC market continued on a path to recovery in the 12 months to end-September. Broadly speaking, the majority of markets are returning to slightly stronger growth – or softer declines – compared to MAT Q2. Trends remain heavily influenced by the impact of Covid-19 across several healthcare segments – both positively and negatively – resulting in low level advances on a global level.

In three months’ time, when we have sales data for the Internet channel, it will be interesting to see whether this high-growth sector fully balances the softness in store retail sales.

We are pleased to announce that Nicholas Hall’s DB6 MAT Q3 2021 update is now available! Subscribers can access over 150,000 pieces of data, with more than 30,000 records covering 13,000+ brands and 3,000 companies across 63 countries. To find out more, or to set up a free demo, please contact kate.holdcroft@NicholasHall.com.

Nestlé targets doubling of e-Commerce sales by 2025

By 2025, Nestlé expects to nearly double its e-Commerce sales to 25% of group total by significantly increasing its digital marketing spend, reports Reuters. The size of the investment was not disclosed. In Q1-3 2021, Nestlé sales were CHF63.3bn (US$68.3bn), with e-Commerce, which grew 17.2% in that period, reaching 14.1% of total sales. On the back of the success of DtC sales of products such as Nespresso coffee pods (Nespresso.com) and Purina PetCare (Purina.co.uk), the company will use a similar model. Speaking at a virtual investor summit, Executive VP Bernard Meunier said markets such as USA, Europe and China would drive growth. 

Nicholas Hall commented: This is high ambition by Nestlé, bearing in mind that many of its brand leaders are available very widely through retail outlets. Whether its CHC business can also reach this level internationally is a moot point, but in its favour Nestlé competes mainly in the VMS sector, where there are lower regulatory hurdles governing e-Commerce in more conservative countries, so maybe it is a fair ambition. And why not, when we ourselves forecast that e-Commerce will hold a 23% share of the entire global CHC market by 2030?

e-Commerce has had an amazing ride in the past ten years, with very few headwinds and the Gulfstream equivalent caused by the Covid lockdown, but the latest news from China implies that this trend may not continue in such a dynamic way in future. To quote from the unusually downbeat Alibaba: “The extremely high growth that China’s overall e-Commerce market has experienced in recent years is getting harder to maintain following government crackdowns on internet retailing this year.” Perhaps the e-Commerce sector has reached the inflexion point of all growth sectors when additional revenues have to be created rather than assumed.

Among the other top CHC players, the ratio of e-Commerce sales is generally on a par with Nestlé. In Q3 2021, Unilever and Reckitt announced that e-Commerce now accounts for 12% of group net revenues, while at GSK it represents 7% of sales. However, during a recent earnings call, Consumer Healthcare CEO Brian McNamara noted that in Q1-3 2021, e-Commerce had grown in the mid-20% range, adding: “Our ongoing investment in digital capabilities continues to position us well for growth in this key channel.” With online shopping clearly appealing to consumers and continuing to grow in popularity even as lockdowns ease, it is likely other companies will have similar targets to Nestlé’s in mind.

We are pleased to announce that the next title from Nicholas Hall’s Reports will focus on Herbals & Naturals. You will be able to review the latest trends, developments and sales, look at pure herbal & natural categories, along with products within topical analgesics, cough remedies, sleep aids, plus much more. To pre-order your copy and save up to GB£2,100, or for further information, please contact melissa.lee@NicholasHall.com.

Q3 Results Round-up: C&D and Prestige

In this week’s blog, we look at the latest quarterly results of two Top 20 global CHC marketers, starting with Church & Dwight, which reported net sales of US$1.3bn in Q3 2021, up 3.7%. Online sales grew by 2.2% (on top of 102% growth in Q3 2020), accounting for 14.2% of total sales.

  • Consumer Domestic net sales were US$998.1mn, up 4.6% driven by household and personal care sales growth and acquisitions. Organic sales increased by 2.8%, owing to higher price and product mix (+6%), partially offset by lower volume (-3.2%). Vitafusion gummy vitamins were among the growth drivers
  • Consumer International net sales were US$227.0mn, a 6.3% increase, mainly driven by European organic sales performance (+8.8%), Global Markets Group organic growth (+6.9%) and currency gains. Despite continued lockdowns, organic sales increased by 2.3%, primarily owing to higher volume. Growth was driven by Waterpik oral care products and Sterimar nasal spray in Europe and Sterimar, Femfresh intimate wash, Vitafusion and L’il Critters gummy vitamins in the Global Markets Group

Comment: Reflecting ongoing trends, CEO Matthew Farrell noted during an earnings call that “Vitafusion gummy vitamins saw huge consumption growth in Q3, up 24%. Consumers have made health & wellness a priority. It appears that the new consumers that came into the category are staying, because if we look at the last year, Vitafusion household penetration is up almost 10%.”

Vitafusion remains a huge growth driver for C&D

As for Prestige Consumer Healthcare, revenues grew by 16.3% (+10.5% on an organic basis) in fiscal Q2 2022 (Jul-Sep 2021) to a record US$276.2mn.

  • North America OTC Healthcare sales were US$251.7mn vs US$216.6mn in the comparable quarter. This was driven by a strong performance across a majority of key brands vs their respective categories and increased demand in certain Covid-impacted categories such as motion sickness and travel-related channels
  • International OTC Healthcare sales totalled US$24.5mn vs US$20.8mn. The increase related primarily to a rise in consumer activity in Australia, which drove a sharp spike in demand for Hydralyte and other Covid-impacted brands, along with a foreign currency benefit of US$0.5mn

Comment from CEO, Ron Lombardi: Our record Q2 built on the strong results delivered in Q1 as our leading brands and business strategies enabled us to benefit from a higher-than-anticipated rebound in Covid-impacted areas, as well as strong consumer demand. The strong performance is broad-based with market share gains, revenue and earnings growth and is a testament to our focused execution in the current environment. Furthermore, TheraTears [acquired from Akorn on 1st July 2021] added incrementally to our strong results and we were pleased with the quick and seamless integration that is now complete.

Save the Date! We are delighted to announce that we will be heading to Athens on 4-6 May 2022 for our 32nd European CHC Conference & Action Workshop! Contact elizabeth.bernos@NicholasHall.com to reserve your space today!

CRN survey shows sharp rise in US VMS usage in 2021

The Council for Responsible Nutrition has revealed initial findings from its 2021 Consumer Survey on Dietary Supplements, which was fielded by Ipsos in August and involved 3,089 adults aged 18+ years. Vitamin D usage has significantly increased (52% vs 42% in 2020), as has zinc (22% vs 15%) and vitamin C (40% vs 35%); all could be helpful for combatting Covid-19 and boosting overall immunity. Further, 50% of supplement users report a change to their supplement routine since the start of the pandemic; 55% of those indicated that this includes adding new supplements to their existing routine.

ClearCut Analytics Director of Sales Jake Bernstein told attendees of the CRN Annual Conference, where the findings were unveiled, that dietary supplement sales on Amazon have risen by 43% and predicted that 25% of sales will be purchased online by 2024. Ashwagandha and collagen were the Amazon star performers.

Nicholas Hall’s Touchpoints: This important research is another building block in helping us to understand how consumer attitudes have changed during the Covid-19 lockdown. As CRN’s Brian Wommack comments: “With 80% of Americans using supplements, these products are now mainstream and broadly accepted by the public. Just as important, 79% of Americans believe the dietary supplement industry is trustworthy, a jump of 5% from 2020.” This data and these comments will be taken into account in our ongoing evaluation of whether the CHC market is moving back to treatment and reversing the recent trend towards prevention & immunity. 

However this turns out, one clear learning emerges: consumer trends move slowly, accelerated only by mega-happenings such as the recent pandemic. By comparison, fashions in the pharmaceutical industry, including its CHC daughter, are highly volatile. 

Our Innovation in CHC 2021 report assesses 10 major trending ingredients, with a strong focus on VMS. Drawing from CHC New Products Tracker, this report also explores trends in NPD activity by company, reviews the best CHC innovations and much more. For more information or to order your copy, please contact melissa.lee@NicholasHall.com.

US Herbal Sales Enjoy Record Rise

Annual sales of herbal dietary supplements in USA passed US$10bn for the first time in 2020, according to the American Botanical Council’s 2020 Herb Market Report, which is based on US retail sales data provided by SPINS and the Nutrition Business Journal. Consumers spent an estimated US$11.3bn, +17.3% vs 2019. This is more than double the annual growth reported that year and the first time the segment has experienced double-digit growth in at least two decades.

  • In mainstream US retail outlets, elderberry was the top-selling herbal supplement ingredient, with sales totalling US$275mn+
  • Ashwagandha root had the largest percentage sales growth (+185.2%) in the mainstream channel. Widely used in Ayurveda, the well-known adaptogen is believed to increase the body’s ability to adapt to different forms of stress
Source: SPINS (52 weeks ending 27th December 2020)
  • Apple cider vinegar supplements saw strong sales growth in both mainstream and natural retail channels, with those marketed for digestive health and “cleanse and detox” the top focus
  • Natural retail outlet shoppers also prioritised fungi supplements, including some marketed for immune and cognitive health such as Chaga, which made its first appearance among the Top 40 in the natural channel ingredients, although human clinical research is lacking

Comment from study co-author Tyler Smith: Consumer trends in herbal supplements have never been more pronounced – the pandemic’s effects on supplement purchases can be seen in almost every data point for 2020. Throughout the year, consumers sought out products commonly used for immune health, stress relief and digestive support, likely in response to pandemic-related stressors. However, sales of products for age-related concerns such as prostate and heart health also grew in 2020, which suggests that consumers were turning to herbal supplements for both acute and chronic conditions.

Now is your final chance to register to join Nicholas and the team next week for our North American e-Conference 2021, reviewing marketing solutions across the region. To register, or for further details, please contact elizabeth.bernos@NicholasHall.com without delay.

Three surveys assess Covid’s impact on our health

Three surveys published in recent weeks have gauged the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on our dietary and supplement habits, our use of technology and our mental health. Here we present a quick survey of the findings in all three studies.

According to a survey of 13,000 people in 24 countries conducted by OnePoll on behalf of the Council for Responsible Nutrition and Herbalife Nutrition, eight in 10 US citizens believe their health is “work in progress”. Some 89% of respondents worldwide are taking steps to improve their health, with 81% reporting that the pandemic helped to kickstart them.

Vitamins and supplements are a priority for many; when asked about how their health goals have changed, half said they are more focused on eating healthier, including supplementing their diet with vitamins & minerals, with the average respondent spending around US$286 each year. However, only 69% reported feeling knowledgeable about the health benefits and 77% would like to know more. Some 30% are most likely to get information about vitamins and supplements from internet searches, media and social media, followed by consulting with their doctor (27%).

Source: OnePoll / Herbalife / CRN

According to a survey from Saudi-based cultural institute Ithra, 91% of people globally are spending more time online because of the pandemic, and 44% are worried about the impact of internet and smartphone use on their health. Respondents in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia appear most worried, with 74% and 56% respectively fearing the negative consequences of the internet on wellbeing vs 27% in Europe and Central Asia. Consistent with their increased use of devices, younger people are experiencing more physical symptoms than their elders, with 50% of Gen Z respondents complaining of tiredness, poor sleep and headaches.

And, finally, a study published in BJPsych Open revealed the mental health of adults aged over 50 has been significantly compromised by Covid-19. University of Surrey researchers analysed data in 5,331 participants from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing. Self-reported depression in June and July 2020 were compared with baseline data from 2-3 years prior. Some 26% met the criteria for clinical depression during the pandemic vs 14% in previous years. Women were found to be at a much higher risk, as well as people living alone and those with long-term health conditions. Women living in an urban environment showed a larger increase in depression symptoms than those in more rural areas. The research also found that individuals at the younger end of the 50+ population suffered more.

In just 2 weeks, you can join Nicholas and a panel of industry experts at our North American e-Conference 2021Sponsored by Catalent, you can look forward to hearing about consumer shopping behaviours, the non-prescription imperative, natural channel retail world and much more. To register, or for further details, please contact elizabeth.bernos@NicholasHall.com.